Unplugging your mic and putting it back into its case after each use can be a real chore. So, why not just leave it out? Is it bad to leave a microphone plugged in?
It’s not bad to leave a microphone plugged in and powered up, and it may even be better for it. Leaving it plugged in can stop you from dropping it since you aren’t handling it as often. The constant power supply is also good for your mic’s electrical components, keeping them in working condition.
Next, we’ll discuss whether or not it’s ok to leave your mic plugged in. Then, we’ll go over the perks of leaving your mic powered up and some situations in which unplugging your mic is the better option. Lastly, we’ll go over two tips that will help keep your mic safe if you choose to leave it powered on.
Is It OK To Leave My Mic Plugged In?
Generally, yes, it’s perfectly safe to leave your mic plugged in and may even be better for your mic’s longevity (more about this below). Unless your mic’s manual says otherwise, you should be fine leaving your mic powered up for extended periods.
Perks of Leaving Your Mic Plugged In
Leaving your mic plugged in is usually fine, and it may even have some advantages. We’ll discuss these below.
Helps Prevent You From Dropping It on the Floor
While leaving your mic out usually doesn’t harm it, dropping it on the floor does. And when are you most likely to drop your mic, you may ask? When you’re removing it or putting it back on its stand, of course! By leaving your mic powered up, you’re avoiding this potentially hazardous activity regularly. If you’re less likely to drop your mic, you can prevent serious damage.
Additionally, mic stands have clamps and suspension elastics that can become weak with use, especially if you’re taking your mic in and out of them every day. However, if you leave your mic powered up in its stand most of the time, there will be very little wear and tear on these parts, so the frame will be less likely to break.
Helps Keep the Electronic Components in Working Order
Your mic’s electrical parts work best when they’re powered up all the time since they’re constantly running. They’re more likely to have issues or not work when you unplug them for a while, then plug them back in. Therefore, leaving your mic plugged in may help keep your mic in working order, extending its life instead of shortening it!
Inspires You To Use Your Mic
When you unplug your mic, put it back in its case, and store it away, you may forget about it. Or, it may be too much of a hassle to get it out for a quick recording session when inspiration strikes.
However, if your mic is up and running all of the time, the moment an idea flashes into your head, you’ll be ready to record! So, leaving your mic plugged in can help you make more music since it’ll be less of a hassle to get it set up.
When Should I Unplug My Mic?
While it’s generally acceptable to leave your mic plugged in, there are a few situations where it’s better to put it back in its case.
If You’re Using It in a Humid Room
Don’t leave your mic constantly plugged-in in a humid room. Humidity is one of a microphone’s worst enemies since it can creep into the microphone’s internal components, resulting in a terrible crackling noise or loss in its frequency response. On rare occasions, it can break the mic completely.
Therefore, you’ll want to leave your mic plugged in in a non-humid room. Typically, rooms with AC are a great option since they regulate the air’s humidity levels. However, if you’re forced to record in your humid basement or another humid area of your home, it’s best to unplug your mic and store it somewhere safe, warm, and dry after each use to prevent damage.
Once you’re done recording with your mic in a humid room, store it in its case with a packet of silica. This will help dry out any moisture that seeped into your mic.
If You’re Using It in a Space With Extreme Temperatures
Do you usually use your mic in your super frigid basement or your burning hot attic? If so, you’ll want to unplug it and store it somewhere with more consistent temperatures after each use, as extreme temps can negatively impact your mic’s performance.
Extreme heat can take its toll on a microphone’s internal components, especially its diaphragm. If you use your mic in a room that gets really hot, like 110 °F (37.8 °C ) or higher, it’s better to take it down after each use and keep it somewhere with a milder temperature.
Similarly, cold temperatures can harm your mic since they can cause your mic’s diaphragm to become stiff, which can cause it to produce unwanted noises. If you use your mic in freezing temperatures, the air’s moisture will have the same influence on your mic that humidity does, resulting in undesirable frequency changes.
Therefore, if you use your mic in a space that can become freezing, it’s best to unplug it and store it somewhere warmer. Additionally, it would help if you placed a silica bag in its case to dry out any moisture that may have seeped in.
If You Keep Your Mic in a High-Traffic Area
If you have a special recording room where you keep your mic, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you record in your family room or another high-traffic area of your home, it’s probably safer to store your mic after each recording session. You don’t want your kids, spouse, house guests, or anyone else accidentally knocking over your mic, as this can cause some severe damage. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
How To Protect Your Mic When It’s Plugged In
If you choose to leave your mic plugged in, make sure you follow these tips to help keep your mic in tip-top shape:
Cover the Head With a Plastic Bag
When you are done recording for the day, make sure you slip a plastic bag over the head of your mic. A standard sandwich bag should work just fine! This will help prevent any airborne particles from getting into your mic and settling on the capsule.
Connect the Power Cable Before Turning the Mic On
Check your cables before your recording session to make sure your mic is plugged in and ready to go. If someone in your household unplugs your mic, make sure the power supply cable is plugged into your mic before turning the mic on.
This is especially important if you use a tube condenser microphone since your mic can experience a voltage shock from the live power supply if you do these steps in the wrong order, which can potentially damage or destroy the tube.
For more information, check out this article on how to clean a mic diaphragm.
It’s perfectly fine to leave your mic plugged in, and it may even be helpful in some situations. The only cases in which you may not want to leave your mic powered up is if the room you keep it in is humid or gets extremely hot or cold, as these conditions can harm your mic. Make sure to cover your mic with a plastic bag after each use to keep it clean and dust-free!
- SOS: Can I leave my mic powered up?
- Sweetwater: How to Take Care of Your Microphones
- Mojave Audio: What effect does temperature or humidity have on my mic?
- Audio Technica: Audio Solutions Question of the Week: Can I Use A Microphone In Extreme Weather Conditions (Hot, Cold, Humid, Etc.)?
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